Albert Street residents want block upzoned for duplexes

Homeowners along a block of Albert Street in North Burnaby want to rezone their properties to allow duplexes.

City staff are recommending a consultation process take place over the proposal, which would rezone 4600 to 4676 and 4605 to 4679 Albert Street as well as 250 Alpha Ave. and 271 Beta Ave.

A petition requesting the change was submitted with the signatures of 18 out of the 36 property owners affected, a city staff report said.

To the south of the block is Hastings Street which is designated for mixed-use development in the Heights Community Plan, and to the north is an existing multi-family project. McGill library is to the west and single-family residential to the east and west.

The affected properties are 33-foot-wide lots with lanes and are zoned R5. The petitioners want them rezoned to R12, which would allow duplexes on lots with minimum frontages of 30 feet when a lane is present.

Coun. Pietro Calendino, a member of Burnaby's community development committee, said the zoning would allow front-and-back duplexes where the units are separated in the middle of the building.

While such a rezoning could boost the property values, Calendino suggested it would only be by about 10 per cent since the 33-foot size of the lots would remain the same. In contrast, side-by-side duplexes require lots of at least 60 feet wide.

Front-and-back duplexes are similar to townhouses but with more floor and yard space, and are a more affordable option to single-family homes, he said.

Calendino said the rezoning would not set a precedent in the neighbourhood since a similar change was made to another block of Albert west of Willingdon a few years back. Front-and-back duplexes have also been built on Dominion Street near Douglas Road.

The public consultation process would include brochures, questionnaires and an open house to determine support for the rezoning. Before it can be forwarded to a public hearing, at least 50 per cent of the property owners have to respond and of those, 70 per cent must support the area rezoning.

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